Should I Continue My Education? Some Reasons Why You Should

by Shawna Sykes

November 17, 2017

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, about one-third of Oregonians age 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher education. Another one-third have either some college or an associate’s degree, while about one-third have only a high school diploma or less education.

If you are contemplating your long-term career goals, there are lots of reasons why continuing your education will benefit you in the long run. Let’s examine a few.

More Education Could Mean A Million More in Earnings

According to Census Bureau estimates, average wages for Oregonians with a bachelor’s degree were nearly 1.6 times greater than residents with only a high school diploma. Those with a graduate or professional degree earned over twice the pay of high school graduates. Over the course of a 30-year career, the difference in earnings between a graduate or professional degree and a high school diploma could be well over $1 million dollars. Instead of banking on winning the lottery so that you can retire, get that degree and increase your earning potential.
Less Education = Higher Poverty Rates

Nearly one-fourth of Oregonians who failed to achieve their high school diploma live in poverty. Poverty rates diminish with greater education. Five percent of Oregonians with a bachelor’s degree or more education are in poverty.
Education Is Vital To Be Competitive for High-Wage Jobs

Less than half (47%) of Oregon’s workers have high-wage jobs (earning more than $37,752 per year). If you want to be one of those high-wage workers, continuing your education beyond high school is a good way to start. According to projections for 2014 to 2024, of Oregon’s high-wage jobs, just 6 percent require only a high school diploma to be competitive in the workforce. The remaining 94 percent require some kind of post-secondary education or degree for workers to be competitive.
The Gender Battle Continues

Overall, a slightly higher portion of Oregon women have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher education (33.1%) than Oregon men (32.3%). In nearly every age group, the share of women with a bachelor’s degree or more is higher than for men, except for the 65 and over age category, where men surpass women by nearly 10 percent. This educational attainment struggle could go either way. Don’t you think you should do your part to keep the competition alive?  
Help Oregon Surpass Our Neighbors

How about some good old-fashioned competition among west coasters? Currently about 32.7 percent of Oregonians age 25 and older have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher education. Oregon is above the U.S. (31.3%) and Idaho (27.6%), but Washington (35.1%) and California (32.9%) have larger shares of their population with a bachelor’s degree or higher. That alone is reason enough to stay in school, right?

Of Course You Should Continue

So, to answer your question about whether you should stay in school, I’d say, of course! Higher pay, lower poverty rates and keeping the friendly competition between men, women, Oregonians and the rest of the west coast are all great reasons to continue your education.

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